A WOMAN with terminal cancer died after taking an overdose of prescription medication while a patient in a Bradford nursing home, an inquest heard.

Debra Rodney, 54, was found dead at Hazel Bank Nursing Home, near her home in Daisy Hill Lane, on March 13 last year.

Mrs Rodney had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and the court heard how the disease had returned in November 2013, spreading to her liver, abdomen, and bones.

She had been discharged from hospital to the nursing home to deal with her failing physical condition, but following her death, her family challenged the initial assumption she had died as a result of the cancer and requested a post-mortem examination.

As a result, Mrs Rodney was found to have died from "lethal levels" of two drugs used to treat mental health issues in her system.

Dr Richard Knights, a consultant pathologist who carried out the post-mortem, told the court that the amount of Venlafaxine and Quetiapine found in her system was between "five and six and a half times the toxic range".

In a statement read to the hearing in Bradford today, Dr Adeela Khan, Mrs Rodney's GP, described her as having a "long-standing history of depression" and a "history of repeated overdoses".

She was also said to suffer from schizophrenia, anxiety, and panic attacks.

Dr Jane Clarke, a consultant psychiatrist, told the inquest Mrs Rodney, who she had treated since June 2011, had agreed to enter residential care at Hazel Bank in March 2013 after being discharged from a period in hospital.

"There were no changes to her levels of medication on discharge, but she had an understanding of her poor physical health and had concerns over how little time she had left with her family," she said.

Jason Sykes, managing director and clinical lead for Park Homes UK, owners of Hazel Bank Nursing Home, said all medication going into and out of the home was physically counted and checked, with no discrepancies noted with Mrs Rodney's prescription.

Assistant Bradford Coroner Oliver Longstaff said he was "satisfied" the nursing home had an appropriate system for the distribution of medication, and that no error had occurred.

"There were lethal levels of two prescription medications, and also drugs in her system that had not been prescribed for many years.

"There is no doubt there was no third-party involvement, and the drugs were taken by herself.

"On the balance of probability, she had the drugs on her person before she went into the home, but I cannot say whether she took an overdose accidentally, or intentionally, with a different intended outcome.

"As such, I come to the conclusion of an open verdict."